Meet Education Cloud

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Define CRM, Salesforce, and Education Cloud.
  • List the set of tools and apps that work together with Education Cloud.
  • Explain how Education Cloud drives learner and institution success with 360-degree views across the entire educational journey.

At, we empower education institutions with the technology needed to manage the entire K-20 student lifecycle. We call this set of solutions and products Education Cloud. But we know that technology is just one component of student success. We help your institution obtain great value out of our products, bring practical Salesforce skills to your classrooms, and convene education leaders to drive innovation across the industry.

With Education Cloud, institutions capture a complete view of learners from K-12, to higher ed, and beyond. Your entire institution can come together to create personalized learner experiences at scale, using one integrated CRM platform for education. This empowers institutions to go from siloed data to actionable insights, transforming learner engagements into lifelong relationships.

What’s powerful about Education Cloud is that it provides institutions with purpose-built education products and solutions as well as the latest innovation from the trusted Salesforce platform including robust AI, analytics and integration capabilities.

The Fundamentals

Education Cloud enables institutions to realize the vision of a connected student experience. What’s a connected experience? A school where students receive personalized messaging? That might be part of it, but a connected experience is so much more. Creating a connected experience begins with putting the student at the center of everything your institution does and transforms the entire student experience through technology.

Today’s lifelong learners expect a digital-first experience, personalized communications and a sense of belonging. A connected experience drives student success by engaging with them in ways that meet their modern expectations for fast, seamless, and personalized digital interactions. That’s why institutions of all sizes are turning to a CRM platform to create connected experiences at scale across the entire student lifecycle - from recruitment and admissions, to the student experience and into advancement and alumni engagement.
Before we dig into the details of Education Cloud, let’s define some basic Salesforce terms:

  • CRM  stands for customer relationship management, or in the case of education, constituent relationship management. It's a system that keeps your constituent information in one place, so your team can see the full history of all interactions with each person. Keeping all of your constituent information in one place helps cultivate more engaged learners, parents, alumni, faculty and staff.

  • Salesforce  is the first company that took CRM to the cloud, enabling companies to access all of their customer information online, from any device, anywhere in the world. From the beginning, Salesforce committed to giving back through the 1-1-1 philanthropy model, donating 1% of time, 1% of product, and 1% of equity to the community. From that initial model, was born.

  •  is the social impact center of Salesforce focused on partnering with the global community to tackle the world’s biggest problems. Operating within Salesforce, a for-profit entity, increases our capacity to innovate on top of the world’s #1 CRM platform, to channel the pro-bono power of more than 45,000 Salesforce employees, and to inspire Salesforce customers and partners to join our global movement for good.

  • Education Cloud is built on the world’s #1 CRM and drives learner and institution success with 360-degree views across the entire educational journey.

  • Trailhead is Salesforce's online learning tool. It’s where you are right now. Trails are guided learning paths that chart your course through Salesforce skills. Modules introduce you to specific topics which are broken up into bite-sized units. Trailhead is a free and fun way to learn Salesforce, and we invite you to dive right in!

Why Education Cloud?

Today's education institutions are facing more challenges than ever. For higher education, global student demographics are shifting, and demand for specific workforce skills is increasing. More than 7 million students that attended college in the fall of 2019 were non-traditional, meaning they were ages 25 and older and likely balancing a job or childcare on top of coursework. K-12 schools and districts today are being asked to do more with less: to embrace new curricula, standards, and technologies. And to drive improved student outcomes, often amidst budget and resource constraints. As school choice becomes more prevalent, both K-12 and Higher Ed institutions are finding it more challenging to engage and retain students. And expectations are changing system-wide for both students and families.

  • Teachers are spending more time on students’ non-academic needs and don’t always have the tools to support student success.
  • Parents say their school or district doesn’t communicate with them effectively.
  • Students expect their experience to be personalized, yet staff report that it is hard to get the data they need to help students due to organizational silos/bureaucracy.
  • Higher ed leaders expect competition to intensify especially as more students continue to question the value of a traditional degree. The same is happening in K-12 where students and parents have more choices than ever before.

Working in education is complex and the list of to-dos is long. EDA can help you organize and streamline your workflow.

If any or all of these sound familiar, you are not alone. The explosive growth of technology, increasing competition in education, and limited funding has made it difficult for even the largest institutions to adapt to the shifting demands of students, families, faculty and staff. These challenges are exactly what Education Cloud is designed to address.

Education Cloud 101

Salesforce is a powerful technology suite that provides solutions to drive learner and institution success. What most people call “Salesforce” includes many popular core Salesforce apps in addition to thousands of AppExchange apps, created by partner organizations that work seamlessly with native Salesforce products. Salesforce also offers the ability to build custom apps and to connect Salesforce to outside systems.

Needless to say, navigating all of the options within the Salesforce ecosystem can be overwhelming. Education Cloud provides a recommended set of Salesforce technologies and apps that empower educational institutions to realize the full potential of Salesforce for their specific needs. You might even think of Education Cloud as the syllabus for Salesforce for Education. It’s an outline for education institutions that includes solution sets for Recruitment and Admissions, Student Experience, Advancement, and Institution Operations.

Education Cloud is transforming learner engagement into lifelong relationships. Education Data Architecture supports learner success and institution success with solutions for recruitment and admissions, student experience, advancement and alumni engagement and institution operations.

The Foundation of Education Cloud: Education Data Architecture

The Education Data Architecture is the foundation of Education Cloud. Developed in collaboration with our education partners and customer community, EDA is a flexible data architecture designed to configure Salesforce for education.

So, what exactly do we mean by “data architecture?” Basically, we’re talking about a series of industry standard and custom data objects built on the Salesforce Platform that model student relationships as well as affiliations. It also includes early warning management including attendance, term grades, prospective employers, and more.

Education Data Architecture (EDA) provides a 360-Degree view of the student with components like Relationships, Affiliations, Program Enrollment, and Course Connections.
As a data architecture, EDA empowers institutions to easily see the relationships students have with advisors and family members, as well as affiliations with clubs, departments, and more from day one.

EDA student contact record on desktop and mobile.
Before EDA, education institutions had to spend lots of time and IT resources to develop a similar architecture from scratch because there wasn’t a standard Salesforce data model for education. Now with EDA, any Salesforce admin can get up and running faster by leveraging a proven architecture, integrated apps, and a set of best practices vetted by our most experienced and successful users who we call Trailblazers.

The ultimate goal is to improve student focus on the business of learning and give staff the ability to spend more time doing what they do best - helping students succeed!

K-12 Architecture Kit: The Foundation for Schools and Districts

K-12 Architecture Kit is the foundation for schools and districts to connect people, processes, and data. Built directly on the Education Data Architecture (EDA), K-12 Architecture Kit gives you access to not only the functionalities in EDA, but also pre-built objects, page layouts, and customizable reports and dashboards that address the common challenges experienced in schools and districts.

Aligned to the Ed-Fi Alliance data standard, K-12 Architecture Kit provides a holistic data model that helps track student relationships with educators, staff, and family members as well as their participation in classes, programs, and extracurriculars. Schools can now collaborate around 360-degree views of student needs and outcomes, better engage families, and operationalize improvement efforts.

K-12 Architecture Kit represents a continuation of’s dedication to the sharing of best practices, ideas, and successes that are truly unique to K-12. Connect to a Better Tomorrow

At, we believe that giving all students what they need to be successful is the first step in supporting their journey as they grow, learn, and create positive change in their communities. Our work in education is a commitment focused on equality and equity—to level the playing field and increase access to opportunities.

In fact, Salesforce has a philanthropic program committed to getting youth and young adults school-ready, tech-ready, and workforce-ready. We call it Future Ready. Through grants and technology donations, the Future Ready program provides students with access to resources that empower their learning journeys from the classroom to the workforce.

Salesforce Student Programs enables academic institutions and workforce development organizations to offer practical, hands-on training and accreditation to arm students with the skills they need to leverage the full power of Salesforce. Salesforce skills launch careers. By offering students real skills for the real world, we are boosting their employability and preparing them to be competitive in a brave new world. Salesforce Student Programs has a mission to create economic impact and improve the state of the world through partnerships with governments, colleges, and nonprofits for workforce development efforts.

All this is to say that and our partners are deeply invested in education. That’s why we define our impact not only by the transformation our customers achieve with our technology but also in terms of community-driven innovation and student empowerment. Because, like you, we want all students to be prepared for tomorrow.


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